Monday, May 27, 2013

banning photographers from it going too far?

"After some unflattering photos went viral online, Beyoncé has decided to ban photographers from her shows and only allow pre-approved images from each show to be released."

I realize that artists are concerned about their image, but as a photographer, I think banning all photographers from her shows is going too far.  I suspect that she has probably received more good photos from the photographers that receive photo credentials than she has bad photos.  And if that is not the case, perhaps there should be some sort of review process to determine which photogs get photo-passes.

Why stop at just banning photographers from her shows?  If she is so concerned about people seeing her in unflattering poses or making weird faces, then why not take it a step further and not allow fans into the shows at all?  This way, nobody will see her make the same expressions and poses that she doesn't want photographed?  Why not just release a pre-approved DVD of her concert for fans to purchase?

What do you think?  Is she taking it too far, or am I looking too much into her actions?

You can read more about it at the link below, if you'd like.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Why I don't work for free...or super-cheap...

Lately, I have been asked more and more if I would photograph an event, whether it be a concert, a burlesque show, a wedding, etc., most of these conversations end the same way: I ask what their budget is for a photographer and they generally tell me one of the following:

  1. I'll put you on the list so you won't have to pay a cover.
    1. (So you're willing to let me not pay $5 - $10 for the privilege of photographing your event?  Sweet!  I'll be right over.)
  2. I'll let you put your name on the photos and you'll totally get a lot of press and recognition.
    1. (Thanks for letting me put my name on my work, by the way, I really appreciate your awesomeness and generosity.)
  3. You don't have to give me any prints.  I'll give you a CD to put them on.  That won't cost you anything. 
    1. (As if my time is not worth anything and all my equipment was free.)
Yes, I love photography and shooting live shows and events.  However, I can't do this if I have to work multiple jobs to be able to pay my bills.  Here is what you get when you hire a professional photographer.
  1. A professional person that will meet with you before hand to discuss what it is you want out of the shoot.
  2. Someone who will show up on time and stay the agreed upon amount of time.
  3. Professional equipment.  (Compare the shots you get with your smartphone with that of a professional grade dSLR.)  In some cases, the photographer will also have backup equipment.
  4. Experience.  I have been shooting concerts for the past 15 years.  This experience has given me some great experience that helps me deal with all sorts of situations that can turn up at a show.
Let's look at a hypothetical situation.  If someone in town asks me to shoot a show that goes from 10pm - 2am, here are the expenses I have to put into it:
  1. Time.  
    1. Now that I'm shooting your show, I no longer have that time to do what I really want.
    2. Assume that for every hour of shooting, I will spend at least 1/2 an hour editing photos. Your 4 hour show is now going to take me at least 6 hours.
    3. When I'm shooting your show, this means I can't book any other shoots, which may be willing to pay me.
  2. Gas to get to the event.
  3. Sometimes, parking costs me, too.
  4. Equipment.  
    1. Camera bodies
    2. Lenses
    3. Batteries
    4. Memory cards
    5. Flashes
    6. Computer to load the images
    7. Software to process the images
    8. A phone to reach me on
Plus, I still have the basic living expenses just like everyone else.  I have to make money to pay these, just like everyone else.  Until my landlord, electric company, cable company, and phone company are willing to give me their services because I'm willing to "give them credit", I won't be able to do this for you.

So, the next time you are going to ask a photographer to cover your event, keep this in mind and don't be surprised if they ask what your budget is or expect to be paid.

And because I like photos, here's one I took of Gerard from My Chemical Romance a while back.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Instagram images and prints

With millions of users, I know it's not just me that likes Instagram.  I've seen some amazing images and found great inspiration through the app.  One of my problems with the app is that I'll see an image I like and then forget which account posted it so I can't find it later to further enjoy it.  There are some accounts I wish would offer an option to purchase prints.  I doubt I'm the only one to think of this idea.  Maybe people are thinking the same thing about my Instagram.  In case you are, I created an album on my website,, that will share and sell prints of images I upload to Instagram.  In keeping with the spirit of Instagram, they will be offered in square format only.

Are you on Instagram?  If so, follow me.  I'm @JohnShippee.